Dick Van Dyke Had To Pay Disney To Allow Him To Play Two Characters In ‘Mary Poppins’


Mary Poppins will return in, uh, Mary Poppins Returns. Except this time, 54 years later (it’s the longest gap between live-action sequels in cinema history), the magical nanny is played by Emily Blunt. In fact, only one character from the first film appears in the sequel: Dick Van Dyke, who revealed that he’s playing the son of Mr. Dawes, the grizzled director of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. He was initially only cast to play chimney sweep Bert in Mary Poppins, so Van Dyke, then a massive star with The Dick Van Dyke Show, had to convince Disney that he could do a second role, too. And by convince, I mean pay them.

“I said, ‘I’ll do it for nothing.’ Actually, I had to give him $4,000 dollars. I had to pay him to do the part,” Van Dyke told Lin-Manuel Miranda (who plays Bert’s apprentice Jack in Mary Poppins Returns) during ABC’s Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic – A Special Edition of 20/20, which aired Thursday.

After Miranda further pressed on whether Van Dyke ultimately paid Disney to play the banker, Van Dyke quipped, “And I’d do it again.” To this day, Miranda pointed out, many viewers fail to remember that Van Dyke played two roles in the family film, for he was unrecognizable when portraying the banker versus Bert. “I always, when I tell my friends you’re in it. They go, ‘Oh, he’s playing Bert,’ I go, ‘Remember he played two parts in that movie,'” Miranda explained, something Van Dyke says he’s well aware of. (Via)

Van Dyke, who went to Walt Disney personally to play Mr. Dawes, Sr. (“He didn’t give it to me”), didn’t have to break into his bank account for Mary Poppins Returns. “I got excited, of course, that there was going to be one, and, of course, my first question was: ‘Can I be in it?'” he said. And this time, Van Dyke, now in his 90s, didn’t need four hours of makeup a day to look the part.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)